Surgery c.1845-c.1918

  • Ether used as an anaesthetic for the first time.

    Long used ether for the first time on March 30, 1842 to remove a tumor from the neck of a patient, James M. Venable, in Jefferson, Georgia. Long subsequently removed a second tumor from Venable and used ether as an anesthetic in amputations and childbirth. The results of these trials were published in 1849 in The Southern Medical and Surgical Journal.[1] An original copy of this publication is held in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  • Nitrous Oxide used as an anaesthetic

    The first time nitrous oxide was used as an anesthetic drug in the treatment of a patient was when dentist Horace Wells, with assistance by Gardner Quincy Colton and John Mankey Riggs, demonstrated insensitivity to pain from a dental extraction on 11 December, 1844.
  • First British operation using ether.

    First British operation under anaesthesia was undertaken by Robert Liston at University College Hospital. Liston used ether to amputate the leg of a butler, Frederick Churchill. The amputation took 28 seconds. Liston's admirers claimed that "the gleam of his knife was followed so instantaneously by the sounds of sawing as to make the two actions appear almost simultaneous". In future, anaesthesics would allow surgeons - and their patients - the luxury of less haste.
  • Period: to

    Black Period of Surgery

  • USA - ether used as an anaesthetic

    USA - ether used as an anaesthetic
    Painting by Robert Hinkley of the first use of ether as an anaesthetic. Operation carried out by Dr Warren and Dr Morton.
  • Ignaz Semmelweis - disinfection

    Ignaz Philipp Semmelwe discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection (by means of hand washing with chlorinated lime solution) in obstetrical clinics. His ideas were initially resisted.
  • James Young Simpson discovers property of chloroform

    James Young Simpson discovers property of chloroform
    On inhaling the chemical they found that a general mood of cheer and humour had set in. But suddenly all of them collapsed only to regain consciousness the next morning. Simpson knew, as soon as he woke up, that he had found something that could be used as an anaesthetic. They soon had Miss Petrie, Simpson's niece, try it. She fell asleep soon after inhaling it while singing the words, "I am an angel!".
  • Hannah Greener dies while anaesthetized

    Hannah Greener dies while anaesthetized
    The first fatality directly attributed to chloroform anesthesia was recorded on 28 January 1848 after the death of Hannah Greener
  • Queen Victoria uses chloroform

    Queen Victoria uses chloroform
    Queen Victoria chose to use chloroform and thus sanctioned the use of anesthesia in childbirth, recently developed by Professor James Young Simpson. The chloroform was administered by Dr. John Snow.
  • Louis Pasteur - Pasteurization demostrated for the first time

    Louis Pasteur - Pasteurization demostrated for the first time
    Pasteur's research also showed that the growth of micro-organisms was responsible for spoiling beverages, such as beer, wine and milk.Pasteur to the idea that micro-organisms infecting animals and humans cause disease. He proposed preventing the entry of micro-organisms into the human body, leading Joseph Lister to develop antiseptic methods in surgery.
  • Joseph Lister publishes details of antiseptic surgery

    Joseph Lister publishes details of antiseptic surgery
  • William Halstead uses sterilised rubber gloves and surgical masks

    Halstead, an American surgeon, pineered some key techniques in the development of aseptic surgery.
  • Wilhelm Röntgen studying X-rays

    Wilhelm Röntgen studying X-rays
    He wrote an initial report "On a new kind of ray: A preliminary communication" and on December 28, 1895 submitted it to the Würzburg's Physical-Medical Society journal.[61] This was the first paper written on X-rays.
  • Karl Landsteiner identifies blood groups

    Karl Landsteiner identifies blood groups
    Landsteiner identified three blood groups A, B and O, which he labelled C, of human blood. Landsteiner also found out that blood transfusion between persons with the same blood group did not lead to the destruction of blood cells, whereas this occurred between persons of different blood groups. Based on his findings, in 1907 the first successful blood transfusion was performed by Reuben Ottenberg at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
  • Effective blood transfusions made possible.

    In 1914, the Belgian doctor Albert Hustin and the Argentine physician and researcher Luis Agote successfully used sodium citrate as an anticoagulant (stops blood clotting) in blood transfusions.
  • Period: to

    First World War

    The X-ray tube shown was used during the Great War, along with the Arsenic Plate. Using them the surgeon was able to detect where a bullet had penetrated, (usually in the head), many operations were successfully performed thanks to Rontgen's discovery
  • Harold Gillies pioneers the use of 'plastic' surgery

    Harold Gillies pioneers the use of 'plastic' surgery
    From June 1917 Gillies worked at Queen Mary's Hospital reconstructing the faces of those soldiers wounded in the First World War.